LINKAGE OF THE CHILD RIGHTS ACT TO THE EDUCATION OF GIRLS
The study looked at how girl-child rights affected education in missionary secondary schools in Lagos State, Nigeria. The descriptive research approach was utilised to analyse respondents' attitudes using a questionnaire and a sample technique.
A total of 300 (three hundred) respondents (150 males and 150 females) were chosen and employed as the study's sample, which represented the complete population of the study. Five research questions were posed in the study and analysed alongside the respondents' bio-data using simple percentage frequency counts, while two null hypotheses were formulated and tested at the 0.05 level of significance using both the Pearson's Product Moment Correlation Coefficient and the independent t-test statistical tools.
The following findings emerged from the data analyses: There will be no significant relationship between the Child's Rights Act and girl-child education in Lagos State, Nigeria, and there will be no significant gender difference in the education of the Girl-Child due to the Child's Rights Act in Lagos State, Nigeria.
Based on the findings, it can be concluded that there is a favourable association between the Child's Rights Act and Girl-Child Education in Lagos State, Nigeria. Based on the findings, it became necessary to urge that Nigerian girls be educated about their rights.
Many of them are unaware of their Fundamental Human Rights, such as the right to an education, which enables them to oppose and reject all situations that strive to make them inferior, subordinate them, oppress them, and deny them equal access to policy and decision-making positions.
Background Of The Study
With the arrival of missionaries and the traditional form of administration in Nigeria in the 1840s, primary education began. Because they were unsure of the British motive, traditional rulers and chiefs who had direct contact with the colonialists were hesitant to send their children and wards to the early schools created.
Instead, traditional kings and chiefs sent to these schools children of slaves and those who worked for them as housekeepers. After these slaves grew literate and were employed by missionaries as clerks and interpreters, traditional rulers saw that sending their children to school could, after all, be useful (Adeleke, 1997).
According to Ayodele (2000), traditional education in Nigeria requires girls to shadow their mothers in their chosen professions, while boys shadow their fathers in theirs. As a result, the expectation was that the culture of the people never encouraged the girl-child to do more than help out in the kitchen and with other domestic chores.
As a result, everyone absorbed the culture over time, and girl-child education suffered greatly. The society required informal schooling to train and prepare both men and women for survival. Formal education was brought to Nigeria with the arrival of British administration and the arrival of Christian missionaries.
According to Awolowo (1981), education is the process of physical and mental culture by which a man's personality is fully developed. An educated man, according to him, is one whose personality is fully developed; he never feels inferior to anyone, regardless of colour, stature, or strength; he or she is self-reliant, and will resist any sort of shame until the last breath in him is expended.
Education, according to Fafunwa (1979: 26), is “the aggregate of all the processes by which a child or adult develops the abilities, attitudes, and other forms of behaviour that are of positive value to the society in which he or she lives, that is to say, it is a process of disseminating knowledge either to ensure social control or to guarantee rational direction of the society, or both.”
The girl-child has been terribly neglected over the years (Oleribe 2002). Girl-child are excluded from decision-making, are employed without remuneration, are kept as housekeepers, and are never allowed to earn a living for themselves.
They are used by men as wives, children as mothers, other women as house-girls, and men as bed-mates (Fishel, 1998; Oleribe, 2002; Sarwar and Sheikh, 1995). She has never been given the opportunity to make her own decisions.
According to Ebigbo and Abaga (1990), the rate of child maltreatment and child hawking in Nigeria has reached a concerning and frightening level. He further stated that it is common in Ibadan, Ondo, and Ogun metropolitan to see youngsters, particularly girls under the age of 14, peddling commodities and other products along the roadway, preventing them from attending school.
In Nigeria, the Christian Missionary Society (CMS) pioneered both primary and secondary education. As a result of this, even females who were able to attend school became pregnant due to a lack of self-discipline. They were obliged to marry, which meant that their school careers were over.
However, the unsightly tendency and unwillingness to send the girl-child to school due to cultural issues, which had previously hampered the progress of girl-child education, was reversed when the Roman Catholic Mission (RCM) efforts began in Nigeria in 1948.
“The RCM opened a girl's convent school in Abeokuta in 1886, and St Agnes College Yaba Lagos for the training of female teachers in 1933,” writes Oyedeji (2001). Soon, there were basic and secondary schools for girls in different districts of southern Nigeria.”
Without a question, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the most universally accepted foundation for action with regard to children. It has the most ratifications of any human rights instrument. The CRC directs international efforts to discover the ongoing living situations that endanger very young children and undermine their healthy and optimal growth, development, and education.
The Convention can be used to actively promote the quality of care that young children require and are entitled to as part of their fundamental human rights (Angeles-Bautista, 2001). However, twelve years after the Convention's ratification and eleven years after the World Summit for Children, the Childhood Care Development and Education was first presented at the OMEP Nigeria, 2001 National Conference at the University of Ibadan.
The programme continues to suffer difficulties. All those responsible for the care, development, and education of young children must continue to remind governments and state parties of their responsibilities (Bellamy, 2001).
Nigeria has ratified several human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its Optional Protocol on Individual Communications, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the Convention on Nigerian child protection policy is based on the Child Rights Act, which was brought into law by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003 (UNICEF Nigeria, 2007).
This identifies all persons under the age of 18 as children and outlines particular safeguards and restrictions required to meet the mission of providing all essential care for child survival, well-being, education, and development. The Act has been passed at the state level by 24 of Nigeria's 36 states (Defence for Children International, 2010).
It addressed the most serious cases of child trafficking, child labour, and child maltreatment. A variety of other national and international policies and projects enhance this framework and provide means for implementation.
Education is one of the most essential human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1949, stated in Article 26:
• Everyone has a right to an education. This must be free at the very least in the elementary and primary grades.
• Elementary education will be mandatory, but technical and professional education will be widely available.
• On the basis of merit, higher education should be available to all.
• Parents have the right to choose the type of education that their children get (Nwangwu, 1976).
Since the publication of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly has passed various treaties, declarations, and conventions focusing on human rights, including the right to education. Most human rights issues are referred to the General Assembly's Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian, and cultural issues (Anynwu, 1990).
Children's human rights are fully expressed in one treaty: the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which provides the highest level of protection and aid for children under any international document. The Convention has a holistic perspective, which means that the rights are indivisible and interconnected, and that all articles are equally significant. The CRC defines a “child” as anybody under the age of 18 “unless majority is attained earlier under the law applicable to the child.”
The World Summit for Children, held in 1990, re-emphasized the importance of providing basic education to all children by the year 2000, as well as promoting female literacy. Following the World Convention on Education for the Female Child (WCEFC), the Dakar World Education Forum (WEF) was held, where new education targets were set to be met by 2015.
The goals include, among other things, ensuring that all children, particularly girls from disadvantaged backgrounds and ethnic minorities, have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education of high quality; eliminating gender disparities in pre-tertiary education by 2005, and transitioning to gender parity in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls full and equal access to basic education of high quality.
Similarly, MDGs 2 and 3 reaffirmed the achievement of universal primary education and the development of gender parity and women's empowerment, respectively. According to the developments, the Nigerian government is required to provide free, compulsory, and universal basic education to all children of primary and junior secondary school age under the Universal Basic Education Act (2004) and the Childs Rights Act (2003).
Access to education for girls is also affirmed in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were agreed upon after the Millennium Summit in 2000 and are aimed to be realised by 2015. The second Millennium Development Goal is to “Achieve universal primary education,” and the third is to “Promote gender equality and empower women.” Girl-child education has been a major and ongoing issue in developing countries, including Nigeria.
Despite the fact that improving and organising access to education has been a primary priority of African governments since the 1960s, the history of educational provision to date is a collection of persistent inequality between boys and girls, as well as men and women.
Again, while educational possibilities for all children in Nigeria have substantially grown, there is still an under-representation of females in schools, indicating a disparity in educational access and accomplishment that has widened to the growing disadvantages of females (Gender Training Manual, 1999).
Nigeria has signed various international accords intended at redressing the gender imbalance in education, yet the girl-child remains far behind. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “everyone has the right to an education.” Article 7 (7) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child provides that “every child (male or female) is entitled to free and compulsory basic education and equal opportunity for higher education based on individual ability.”
The World Conferences on Education for All (EFA) in Jomtien, Thailand, held in 1990, affirmed, among other things, that everyone should be able to benefit from educational opportunities geared to meet their basic learning needs. Despite concerted efforts at the national and international levels to achieve gender equality between boys and girls in many areas, including education, inequity persists globally.
“It is a well known fact that many parents in Africa give preferential treatment to boys, especially in matters concerning education,” (Mamma in Eze, 2011) describes the fate of the girl child. It is very tragic that girls are still forced to live in the shadows in some nations, denied education and other rights, and socially exploited.
Worryingly, despite the passage of the Child Rights Act into law in 2003 by Nigerian legislators, the issue of girl-child education has not been properly addressed (Ayodele, 2000).
The child rights law aims to enable and defend the rights of all children in the country, regardless of tribe, gender, or parental position. The girl child continues to face a national gender discrepancy in basic education enrolment, retention, and completion.
According to available figures, Nigeria has around 10 million children, 60 percent of them are girls who are not currently enrolled in school (Jackson and Walwana, 2009). Girl-child education has long been a source of contention in underdeveloped countries, including Nigeria. Education for girls can be compared to a coin with two sides.
This is because in the northern portion of Nigeria, girls are not encouraged to attend school, whereas in the southern half of the country, the opposite is true. However, women are culturally limited to their conventional duties, with numerous sanctions imposed on them by custom, conventions, or religion (Onyeaku, 2001).
According to Mohammed (2008), it has been found that girl-child education has suffered greatly in society. This has been the situation since the country's independence in 1960. In the 1960s, the situation was particularly dire, with only one girl attending secondary school out of every ten students.
Before the turn of the century, missionary operations began in several portions of northern Nigeria. Baikie of the Christian Missionary Society established a community in Lokoja in the 1860s. The same year, a school was established, and education began in Hausa and Nupe languages. The Northern states' girl-child education has been lagging behind all this time in terms of education, and one might wonder why this should be the case in light of the clear provisions in the National Policy on Education that education is a right for every Nigerian child.
The National Policy on Education (2004) also has as its 5th objective the construction of a “bright land full of opportunities for all individuals.” In the northern states of Nigeria as a whole, there is gender disparity in access to basic education.
The Northern region, which is controlled by the Hausas, has no interest in girl-child education because it was previously seen as primarily for the male child. The girl-child was deprived not only formal education but also Qur'anic education. The few girls who attempted to attend school after the amalgamation in 1914 did so under pressure.
The challenges associated with a lack of female education stem from the following causes:
• Northerners' customs and traditions
• Inadequate male figures and oblivious mothers who knew better
• Premature marriage and
Priority given to the Boy-Child, etc.
According to a recent African Union report on the rights and wellbeing of Nigerian children, around 6,000 youngsters are held in prisons and detention centres across the country. Girls make up fewer than 10% of the population and are mostly involved with the law as a result of criminal activities perpetrated against them, such as rape, sexual exploitation, and trafficking.
Statement of The Problem
The solution to poverty, family disorganisation, and. True societal growth has had various setbacks over the years as a result of socio-cultural and economic reasons. Girls continue to make up the majority of the world's illiterate children.
Extreme poverty, widespread illiteracy, widespread ignorance, high maternal mortality and fertility rates, child malnutrition, and a lack of access to health, education, and social services may appear far-fetched to many indigenous peoples and visitors.
Girl-child education issues have existed in Nigeria since the establishment of British administration. Parents were hesitant to send their daughters to school. This is due in part to the conventional educational system, which typically suggests that the role of the girl or woman in society is in the home.
Many children, particularly girls, who should have been in school, were involved in unsavoury activities like as child labour, child abuse, child trafficking, and prostitution, and were all denied Child's Rights Act order legal enforcement.
These youngsters were frequently exposed to inhumane conditions, with some suffering physical abuse, economic exploitation, and denial of educational opportunities. Most of them were malnourished, and if they were fortunate enough to attend school, they were rarely allowed enough time to play and rest.
According to Mohammed (2008), most girl-children are either hawking goods on the street for their parents or are involved in early marriages as a result of parental poverty and financial problems, where some parents cannot afford to pay school fees for their many children. In certain households with several children, the boys are chosen and taught, leaving the girls untrained and illiterate.
Not only that, but the girl-child has faced enough discrimination from her siblings, parents, and even society, which has had a bad impact on her schooling. For example, in many African traditions and practises, the girl-child is considered inferior to the boy-child, which has led many African parents to prioritise training the boy-child over training the girl-child.
The aforementioned issues prompted an investigation on the influence of the Child Rights Act on the education of girls in Missionary Senior Secondary Schools in the Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria.
This study raised the following research questions:
(1) What cultural factors influence girl-child education in Lagos State, Nigeria?
(2) What are the most prominent perceived consequences of a lack of girl-child education among pupils in Lagos State, Nigeria?
(3) What impact does the Child Rights Act have on girl-child education in Lagos State, Nigeria, according to students?
(4) What are the solutions for putting the Girl Child Rights Act into action in Lagos State, Nigeria?
(1) In Lagos State, Nigeria, there would be no major association between the Child Rights Act and girl-child education.
(2) Due to the Child's Rights Act in Lagos State, Nigeria, there will be no substantial gender gap in the education of the girl-child.
The Importance of the Research
Students would find the findings of this study very useful in guiding their work on issues concerning the Child Rights Act and Girl-Child education in Nigeria in general and Lagos State in particular, particularly students in the state's missionary secondary schools. This is because the education of the girl-child is a highly important issue that must be addressed due to the importance of the girl-child in every Nigerian family.
Teachers at our secondary schools, particularly in Lagos State, would value the findings of this study because they will have a better understanding of the relevance of girl-child education in Nigerian homes.
This study will benefit the government, notably the Ministry of Education, because it will keep them informed about the critical role that girl-child education plays in any country around the world, particularly in Nigeria and Lagos State.
This study will also be very valuable to society since it will provide a good understanding of girl-child education in Nigeria.
The Study's Scope
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the Child Rights Act and girl-child education in Lagos State, Nigeria. The survey included all of the teachers and students of Missionary Secondary Schools in Lagos State, Nigeria's Mainland Local Government Area.
This study was confined to access to the panacea of Girl Child Education, Missionary Schools in LagosState; it did not address other critical concerns in girl-child education such as retention and equity, enrolment, quality, and achievement in school subjects. It is also limited to missionary schools in Lagos state. Due to time and funding constraints, this study was limited to the state of Lagos.